Well hello, all! Thank you for stopping into today’s blog. Dawn here your ever loyal A Clean Cigarette blogger here to bring you some very current events in the electronic cigarette industry. So let’s talk about the recent FDA raid:
We have heard from the FDA quite a bit in recent months. They have told this industry that they were going to crack down on youth sales and actually warned us as a whole last April. At that time they told us that this industry had 6 months to get ready for it. For those of us in the industry that do not market to kids this warning was a non-issue.
As most of you know we here at A Clean Cigarette have always had an over 18 only policy even long before the FDA or any local, state or federal laws told us to. It just seemed like a no-brainer. We are smokers helping smokers, which means we know how horrible the addiction to nicotine can be. We only help smokers. Not non-smokers, it’s just all we do.
Well, 6 months from April is October and JUUL labs, an electronic cigarette company out of silicon valley, has found out that the FDA is deadly serious.
In an FDA raid on Juul, they confiscated thousands of documents from Juul’s corporate headquarters on Friday, September 30th. Although the FDA did not release the information until Tuesday the 2nd of October. But what’s this raid all about?
Leading up to the FDA Raid on Juul
Although the e-cigarette story starts years ago, for this let’s start back in April of this year. Like I said the FDA issued a statement at the time that basically said if we as an industry could not stop ourselves from marketing to youth the FDA would do it for us. Even if that means over-regulating products that could save millions of current smokers lives. They were very clear that while us smokers DO deserve products like these they would not tolerate this industry getting another generation of kids addicted to nicotine with marketing tactics that are aimed at young people and never smokers. They warned us that they would use tools like an FDA Raid, criminal charges, fines and any other thing they need to if they have to stop us.
To us, this seemed simple. Make (or in our case keep because we have always had) packaging plain. Include all appropriate nicotine warnings. Don’t use young trendy images to attract consumers. Be careful about how social media and other forms of marketing are used. Above all else Don’t Sell or Allow your products to be sold to Minors.
Juul specific call out before the FDA raid
When the FDA did that original April call out they mentioned a few companies by name. Telling them to step up their game. Juul owns around 70% of the youth e-cigarette market. So it’s not surprising that they were one of the ones called out at that time.
In response to the callout Juul claims to have provided over 60,000 documents to the FDA and invested in youth Anti-vaping ad campaigns. While a good start the FDA wants more and they want real evidence that kids are not the target of these products.
Why Ads like this?
Even with all that Juul was doing the FDA still kept at them claiming that their ad campaigns are high in color and full of young models having fun. Pointing out that ads like the one below are obviously NOT directed at older long-term smokers. They are in fact created to make the act of getting addicted to nicotine look fun.
For their part, Juul has openly said they are dedicated to combating youth vaping and even released a statement in which Juul CEO Kevin Burns emphasized to TIME reporters after the recent FDA inspection:
“We are committed to preventing underage use, and we want to engage with FDA, lawmakers, public health advocates and others to keep JUUL out of the hands of young people,” Burns
Sounds great but the FDA is looking at the number of youth vapers in our schools and they want more than lip service. Fast forward to September. The FDA gave Juul and a few other companies a 60-day ultimatum. Create a comprehensive plan for keeping youth off of your products or face regulations, criminal charges or fines. Right about that same time the FDA hit hundreds of retailers that sell products like Juul Pods with thousands of dollars worth of fines for unlawfully selling Juul to minors.
The FDA Raid
While none of the stuff I have mentioned was all that surprising to us. What WAS surprising is that less than 30 days after the 60-day ultimatum. The FDA raided Juul’s Corporate headquarters. Taking with them over 1000’s additional documents on top of the 60K document Juul already sent.
What were they hoping to find in the FDA Raid? Well, it’s hard to say but what I can say is that the FDA is not going to fall for the same big tobacco tricks of the past again. Any marketing campaigns, packaging or events that make e-cigarettes seem young, cool, hip or trendy will be noticed and will be called to the floor. The unfortunate part of the conversation is that they could very well bring the rest of us down with them.
While we are fighting for the FDA to see us as the harm reduction product that we want to be. Some folks in this industry are advertising us like fun party favors. A nicotine addiction is no laughing matter and it is certainly NOT a good time.
Bleak Future without US
If the FDA steps in: If the big players in this industry do not start putting common sense in front of dollars and cents then not only could companies like A Clean Cigarette suffer the consequences from over-regulation. There will be more FDA Raids. Worse yet, over 6.6 million smokers may suffer the loss of products that could save lives.
If the FDA doesn’t step in: Then unscrupulous ad campaigns will convince the next generation or two that addiction to nicotine is somehow fun and ok. Addicting millions more than would have started without these products.
The only way to make this work for everyone is for our industry to step up and stand up. To do the right thing and not have to be told to do the right thing. We KNOW we have world-changing stuff here but that means we need to do this right. It’s important.
Let’s be clear
This post is to inform you about what’s going on. We are not trying to throw Juul or any of our competitors under the bus. We’re just pointing out what is easy to see. We are also asking for them to really look at the REAL bottom line when they are deciding who they target. For crying out loud their nicotine level is more than double our full flavor normal cigarette cartridge. That means most people starting on a product like Juul is starting at nicotine levels higher than a non-filter cigarette smoker. Products that strong are not hip, are not fun, and they should never be trendy. They are nicotine delivery systems.
So while we are not throwing them under the bus we openly do not understand their current choices and hope they will self-correct before it is too late.
Thank you again for stopping into this blog. Please let me what you think about this story and any of our blogs in the comments below. I and all of us here at A Clean Cigarette appreciate you. If you or a loved one would like more information on the A Clean Cigarette brand E-cigarette. Visit www.ACleanCigarette.com. for our full online store and locations list. Have a great day!